Parents worried that vaccinating their adolescent daughters against the human papillomavirus (HPV) might encourage them to engage in risky sexual behavior — or to start having sex in the first place — should rest easy, according to a new study released Monday.
Young girls and women who get the HPV vaccine are not more likely to have unprotected sex after receiving it, according to a study conducted by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center that was published online in the journal Pediatrics.
In addition, those women who had not had sex at the time they were vaccinated were not more likely to start, the study found, a result that backs up previous studies that came to the same conclusion.
“I think this study just provides additional reassurance to the data that we already have that the HPV vaccine doesn’t change sexual behaviors,” said Dr. Jessica Kahn, a professor of pediatrics at the medical center and one of the authors of the study.
For the study, more than 300 young women ages 13 to 21 who received the HPV vaccine were surveyed about their beliefs related to HPV and the vaccine as well as their sexual behavior. Then they were polled about the same issues two and six months later to find out whether they had engaged in more or riskier sexual activity as a result of getting the vaccine.